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Where to find real-time info on bushfire conditions and Sydney’s air quality rating

Smokey City over Sydney Harbour
Photograph: CC/Ian Sanderson

The wave of heat that has been making its way east across the country this week, setting a new high for the hottest daily mean temperature ever recorded in Australia, has finally arrived in Sydney, bringing with it a new blanket of smoke and haze. Sydney’s air quality has once again plummeted to hazardous levels, with predictions warning of repeated instances of poor air quality in the city throughout the summer. 

Conditions are changing rapidly, so accessing up-to-the-minute data on both the bushfire developments and the current air quality status will need to become a daily – if not hourly – ritual for Sydneysiders. Fortunately, there are several online portals accessible to the public, covering air quality, health advice and fire alerts. Here are the essential go-tos you should bookmark. 

NSW Health’s bushfire smoke fact sheet
This is a basic outline of the effects of bushfire smoke and the best ways to limit your exposure.

Real-time air pollution index
This minute-to-minute update on the air quality rating is invaluable. It also shows the specific severity of smoke pollution in different areas.

NSW Health’s Air Quality Index fact sheet
This is another useful guide to the possible effects of poor air quality and the best ways to protect yourself.

Fires Near Me Map
An absolute must for anyone travelling in the bush. The Rural Fire Services real-time map charts the severity and status of bushfires across the state.

Check out these 19 ways to cool off during Sydney's sweltering summer months. 

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